Well, many states throughout the country have made great strides when it comes to comprehensive tobacco control programs that include keeping public and common areas smoke-free. These efforts have resulted in a nationwide decline in tobacco use over the years. So far, so good, right?
Not quite, according to the newly released Centers for Disease Control study. The CDC reports that 1 in 5 Americans still smoke. While smoking rates HAVE declined over the past 4 decades, they have stabilized in the last 5 years in particular. Here are some highlights from the study:
• Smoking rates are higher among men- 24 percent as compared to 18 percent for women.
• There are disparities when it comes to education: 26% of people who have less than a high-school education smoke, as compared to 11% of college graduates.
• Thirty-one percent of people who live below the poverty level smoke, while only 20% of those who earn above the poverty level do so.
• More people smoke in the Midwest and Southeastern states and fewer do so in the Northeast and Western states. At 26%, Kentucky’s rate is twice as high as California’s rate!
While this news is sobering, it shouldn’t come as a surprise. The tobacco industry is continuously developing new and sneaky ways to target young and old smokers alike.
Now that I’m brought back to reality, I thought about how I took for granted how far California has come in passing smoke-free policies. I realize again that there is so much more to be done in areas that don’t have strong tobacco control and prevention programs.
How did you react to the CDC study?